Jargon Decoder: Trainee and Intern

Traineeships und Praktika

Searching for jobs is hard enough without having to decode employer jargon. Several terms are used interchangeably, but perhaps none more so than trainee and intern. As you might have guessed, there’s a difference! “But what is it?”, I hear you cry. Well, consider this Gordian Knot unravelled.


A trainee is exactly what it sounds like: a person who was hired to train for a position that they will eventually hold. This usually means that the company fully intend to take on the person at the end of the traineeship. Trainees also commit to a longer-term working period, often up to a year. Trainees are also paid better than interns, but they have a lot more responsibility.


Internships are usually on a short-term basis of three to six months. Interns are most often unpaid (Boo-urns!), or offered a small stipend to cover travel expenses. An internship might be undertaken as an educational requirement, or after college to build upon experience and contacts.

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Things to Watch Out For

While working as a trainee or an intern can add valuable skills, knowledge and networks to your resumé, it is really important to make sure you’re doing the right one.

Companies can abuse the availability of cheap labour by hiring a series of interns and letting them go when their training period ends. If you find yourself making coffee all day – unless you’re a trainee barista – then you should make sure to ask for more responsibilities, or get the hell out of there. Your time and skills are valuable, so make sure yours are being utilised.

Value Your Own Skills

Research companies that offer great internship programmes, or offer you a way to meet new people that can increase your chances of being employed. Have a goal in mind for what you want to achieve from this programme, and go for it.

If you are a trainee, make sure that you want to work for this company. If you don’t, will your traineeship qualify you for a position at a company you do want to work for? Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that internship and traineeship opportunities should give you a chance to be challenged and grow. Make sure to value your own abilities, and take every chance you can get to add strings to your bow!

We want to demystify anything that’s puzzling you. If you have you any other questions about internships or traineeships, be sure to let us know!

Featured image: “Coffee cupping” (CC) by Visitor 7

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King

Carrie M. King is the Editor of the Journal by Jobspotting. Hailing originally from smack-bang in the middle of Ireland, she moved to Berlin in 2014 to join the gang at Jobspotting. Carrie previously worked in journalism and literature. If you want to share thoughts or ideas, get in touch: carrie@jobspotting.com